in so many ways this feels like yesterday: holding hours-old monrovia in the hospital.
i don't think i'd ever been so tired at this point...so tired or so elated. giving birth and cradling this baby my heart had already cracked wide open within minutes and love for this little human had filled it up to overflowing.
how strange parenthood is, how quickly you can slip into this new role as if it was always inside you, waiting. at the same time? so much is unfamiliar and foreign and that contraction doesn't go away as you pass into each new stage. i still feel simultaneously as if i am a mother deep in my core and yet i don't know what i'm doing on a daily basis.
a gazillion moments since those first hours of her life - heartbreak and delight and laughter and tears and annoyance, and well you know, a gazillion real life moments. all of those moments, most of which we will forget or will find fading in specificity, add up to who we are today.
it can't be, and yet it is! this morning i sent my baby off to school for her last day of second grade!
she has had such a good year at school. to be honest, there have been so many very hard moments with friends, and it's been challenging to know how to parent her well in the midst of social conflict. growing up is hard! (insert lots of tears and tantrums here) being a mom is hard! (insert some tears and whatever the adult version of tantrum is here) but even with those inevitable growing pains, second grade has been wonderful.
m with her (wonderful-funny-does-all-the things-she's-supposed-to-so-monrovia-can-hear-in-class-kind-structured-warm-patient-problem-solving) teacher. we love her.
then there's this one! who knew i could love a little baby as much as i loved monrovia? and then ruby was born and my heart stretched a little bigger, as it is made to do.
she is so very different from monrovia, and i just love all the ways she's a force in her little world.
here she is headed off to the last day of kindergarten today!
last night she was in bed, looking at a richard scarry book, trying to sound out the words & all at once i wanted to rewind back to infancy and fast forward to see what kind of a grown-up she'll be.
kindergarten has been magical. really. she's learned so much this year, and even though she will likely always be my-stay-in-bed-a-little-longer-and-ask-if-she-has-to-go-to-school girl, she has flourished. she, too, has such an outstanding teacher, who is kind and supportive and gentle. all things that my sensitive but fierce ruby needs.
what does next school year hold? who knows.
of course i want the best for my girls - the ideal arrangement of students in their class, and the most suited teacher for each of them; i want them to thrive! but i know that being a parent is not just about giving them the best of things. it's about teaching our children how to negotiate life when it is less than perfect, when the teacher isn't great, when the kids in their class aren't the optimal combination, when things are rough for whatever reason. (i know that in my head, but that doesn't mean that i don't complain and absolutely hate when the circumstances aren't what i would choose.)
i ask a lot of time these days.
i want it to slow down so i can soak in beautiful moments: watching ruby flip effortlessly on the play structure bars, lounging on the couch with the girls as we all flip through books, running through the sprinklers in the back yard, snuggling early in the morning, comforting monrovia after a hard day with friends. i want to fast forward through the rough: the girls' irrational tantrums, feeling overwhelmed as a mom, the hectic pace of life, the insane amounts of laundry produced in our household, the juggling act that it is to parent and work and do life. and yet we've got the gift and burden of moving through all of it at the same pace, with the delight of the good moments hopefully softening the weight of the crappy or mundane ones.
a year from now, as third and first grades come to an end, i will be astonished yet again at how all things press forward so relentlessly. time marches on, right? and it drags us along with it!
everything that the coming year holds will be by then woven into each of our stories, and my kids will have taught me how to be a mother for 365 more days, one day at a time.